By Jody Johnson-Pettit

Dr. Abby Jakob says winning a Young Professional of the Year award was “the best moment” of her life so far.

“I have never been so proud and honoured,” the 29-year-old optometrist, who owns EYES in Kingsville, Ont., tells Optical Prism magazine.

“To be recognized for my efforts so early in my career is such a boost of confidence and so rewarding. I can’t even describe the joy I still feel from that day.”

Jakob, who was born and raised in Kingsville, was presented with the award by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Windsor Star in April.
Jakob began practicing optometry in 2014, after graduating summa cum laude from the Illinois College of Optometry in May of that year.

She decided to open her own business in March 2017.

The idea to become an optometrist was initiated by a positive influence in Dr. Jakob’s life.
“My optometrist, Dr. Brian Adamson, inspired me. He always told me how much he loved his career and that was rare to hear. I knew I wanted to do something in health care. I always thought I’d become a veterinarian, but after shadowing my local vet, it was too sad for me to see sick or dying animals. That’s when I seriously looked into optometry.”
It is a career choice she truly appreciates.

“I enjoy witnessing the moment when patients start to understand the reason for their symptoms or concerns, as if they finally have an answer to their questions. It’s like a lightbulb turns on for them and they are very thankful. I find this very rewarding, especially because these patients are the most appreciative.”

Dr. Jakob recollects a moment where she made a significant difference in a young patient’s life. It stands as an important reminder that regular eye exams are essential.

“One time, a little girl came in complaining of headaches. After dilating her pupils and finding that her optic nerves were swollen, I sent her directly to the ER to have an MRI. She ended up being airlifted to Toronto, a four-hour drive, to have brain surgery, where a tumour was removed. She is perfectly fine today and has come back to my office with a ‘thank you’ note and a big hug! I will never forget that.”

In the wise words of Dr. Jakob, it is crucial to “treat others the way you’d like to be treated, smile, and always listen to the patient.”